Wednesday, September 1, 2010

No rats helped me here...

Everyone loves Pixar movies, but when Ratatouille came out with a fancy rat chef who helped a janitor cook wonderful food, everyone loved it: Foodies even more so.  When I saw a movie about cooking and the love of cooking making you who you are no matter your race or species, I loved it.  After seeing it though, I clamored all over the internet to look up a recipe for the title dish.  I found it.  Below is my version of the recipe and what I did:

1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp minced garlic
1 cup finely diced onion
2 16oz cans of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp parsley
1 bay leaf
1 lb of Roma tomatoes
1 lb of zucchini
1 lb of carrots or parsnips
1 lb of yellow squash (can use eggplant instead)
1 pinch of chervil
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Take each pepper and cut it in half, place it on a foil lined baking sheet and roast in the oven until the skin loosens, which is about 15 minutes. When it is finished, peel the skin off of the peppers and chop nicely.

Take the oil and place it in a pan with garlic and onion, cooking on medium high heat. Cook until garlic and onion start to turn brown and caramelize. When it starts to turn clear, add tomatoes, thyme, parsley, and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the chopped peppers with a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Make sure to take out and reserve about 4 tbsp of the mixture for later.

Take the four types of vegetable you have chosen and slice each one into circles about 1/4th of an inch thick. Place the above mixture into a cooking dish and then layer the vegetable slices on top of the mixture. Layer them so that one is on top of the other allowing the bottom one to slightly stick out a bit. Arrange in a spiral around the dish. Repeat until pan is filled. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Take1 tsp of minced garlic, 2 tsp of oil, 1/4th tsp of thyme and salt and pepper to sprinkle over the top of the dish and the vegetables. Cover with foil tightly and place in the oven for at least 2 hours.

As it is cooking, take the reserved mixture and place into a small pot. Add tbsp of oil, 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of thyme, chervil and salt and pepper. Warm a bit, stirring.

When the dish is finished and out of the oven, serve dish using a spatula. Scoop some onto the spatula and then place on plate, turning spatula 90 degrees to fan out the vegetable dish. Place a little of the sauce on around the dish. 

Now, if you look at the recipe and the top picture, you will see that there are carrots in this recipe.  The real one does not have carrots but has eggplant.  My wife is allergic to eggplant, so that is why there is a switch.  This rustic French meal is the perfect thing to prepare and eat on these cool and rainy St. Louis days.

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